Galena 2012

Last year we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on Mackinac Island at the Grand Hotel..  This year, we decided to go to Galena, my favorite place for observing the night sky.  Kathie and her kids were able to clear their schedule and join us.  Kathie was going to stop and get us a card, but I told her to have Michael and Michelle make us a card.  Michael pulled out his pencil and created this beauty. 100_0101.JPG (491371 bytes)

June 25, 2012

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We checked in at 4:00 and Kathie and the kids arrived a little later.

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We went to dinner at Bei Jing Buffett

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We saw many horses on our way.

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Michelle and Michael had to get out to get some pictures.

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Michael mastered the Chopsticks.

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Michelle stayed with a fork.

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The sky was clear, we saw Mars and Saturn.

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I brought out my telescope and we saw the rings of Saturn!

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Star Trails Thanks to APOD.

We talked about Star Trails.

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June 26

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We went to the old historic town of Galena.

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They found a friendly dog.

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June 27

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(Left) We started the day by looking at a projected image of a huge sunspot. Sunspot 1512 poses a growing threat for M-class solar flares.  (Above) I showed Michael why we never look at the Sun.  We started the morning paper on fire in seconds with the heat from the Sun. ( Photo)

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After Breakfast, we headed over to the outdoor pool.

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Carole and I headed over to the Eagle Ridge Resort.

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Every time I see a gazebo, I think of that movie, never mind.

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We stopped to smell the flowers.

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After I cooked some hot dogs, Michelle wanted some sun.

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Michael wanted to go fishing.

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Michael got a few bites, but no fish took the bait.

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Going down to the lake was easy, now we had a long  walk up.

We spotted this Dragonfly and a Humming bird that was was not that much bigger.  Michael takes a shortcut up the hill.

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Can you find the Humming Bird?

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After Michael and I cooled off, we woke up Michelle and went to the Shenandoah Riding Center where they were setting up for a rodeo.

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They brought in horses and cows (Under the blue sun shield) for roping. 

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The Sun was setting, so we went back to our townhouse and ate the rest of the burgers.  Michael ate his watermelon with chop sticks.

June 28 (Time to pack up and go home)

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I went out to check out the Sunspots with my telescope and the Sun's rotation has caused the spots to move from left to right. I can't wait for Michael to wake up.  ( Photo)

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Coronal holes are places where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this particular opening should reach Earth on July 1-2. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on those dates.

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"What a wonderful morning," says Petricca. "Jupiter appeared first, bright and low on the horizon. Through the telescope we could clearly see bands on the planet. Venus arrived shortly thereafter."

I got up at 5:30 and missed Jupiter and Venus.   The Sun was washing out the night sky. I went back and slept a few more hours then copied the above picture from


Here are some key dates in July:

On July 4th, Venus will pass dead-center through the Hyades cluster, a loose grouping of stars 153 light years from Earth. The temporary addition of Venus will make it seem that a supernova has gone off in the cluster.

Three mornings later, on July 7th, Venus and Jupiter line up with Aldebaran, the bright red eye of Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is a red giant star of first magnitude. Together with the two planets, it forms an almost perfect vertical line in the brightening dawn sky.

On July 9th, Venus and Aldebaran converge to form a planet-star pair of surpassing beauty. Scarcely more than a degree of arc will separate the two celestial bodies as Jupiter looks down from overhead.

And then, on July 15th, a 12% crescent Moon joins the show, forming a bright celestial triangle with Venus and Jupiter.

Meanwhile, browse our Realtime Photo Gallery for more planet-shots.


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We checked out the sunspots when Michael got up.

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We put a napkin on the focal point and it started to burn.

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Here is the burnt napkin.

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Thanks to Michelle for these photos.

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We had to check out at noon, so Michael and Michelle helped me pack the cars. The temperature was on the way to 100.

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3 trips up and down that hill had me covered with perspiration.  Michelle, being a finely tuned athlete managed to look cool.

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We are ready to head for home after 4 wonderful days.  (Right) Friday June 29, 2012. The Sun continued to rotate displaying another M-class solar flare. The impulsive M2-class solar flare illuminated Earth's upper atmosphere with a pulse of X-rays and extreme ultraviolet radiation. This, in turn, created a wave of ionization over Europe, which altered the propagation of low-frequency radio transmissions around the continent. Using a receiver tuned to 23 kHz, Dave Gradwell detected the disturbance over Ireland. More ionization waves are in the offing as AR1512 and AR1513 crackle with flares. Stay tuned

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Here are a few of Michael's Sketches

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We saw a lot of Eagles at Eagle Ridge.  Michael draws them while I try to photograph them.

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Michelle got some good news when she returned home and picked up the June 28, 2012 Romeoville Bugle.  

She was named to the Voyager Media All-Area softball team.


Romeoville senior led team with a .371 batting average to go along with five doubles, four triples and four homers, with 18 RBI.

“She has been our power lefty hitter,” Romeoville coach Christina Douglas said. “She led the team in home runs and RBI. Michelle has developed into a well-rounded student athlete who has worked hard to be where she is today. I truly believe if Michelle continues to work hard great things will come at Purdue North Central.”

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Michelle's  homerun ball in Northbrook, IL.

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This picture was on the back cover of the June/July Country Magazine.  My Mother always tried to cheer me up when things were not going well, by saying, "Everything happens for the best!"


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